The United States last week reached another milestone in the coronavirus pandemic era, breaching 500,000 deaths, higher than any other nation in the world.
This toll surpassed predictions of experts.
In comparison, more people died from Covid19 than from World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War combined.
“The magnitude of it is just horrifying,” said Jeffrey Shaman, professor of environmental health sciences at Columbia University.
Shaman had created a model of the virus’ spread and said that this scale of loss was not inevitable, but only occurred due to failure to curb its spread.
The US makes up 4.25% of world’s total population, but accounts for about 20% of the global death toll.
Covid19 has now become a leading cause of death in the country, along with heart disease and cancer, causing a sharp dip in life expectancy than in decades.
Amid the deaths, new cases of infections and fatalities have slowed considerably while vaccine distribution has sped up.
However, the fight is far from over as emerging virus variants pose higher infectiousness. Scientists say that it may be months yet before the pandemic is contained and that the death toll is dependent on how fast citizens are inoculated and how seriously they stick to health guidelines such as social distancing and mask-wearing.
Last March, before the pandemic descended on the world in earnest, US’ top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the virus may kill 240,000 Americans—even with strict stay-home orders.
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